Should You Actually Be Drinking Beer Instead of Milk?

The results of alcohol consumption tests often seem conflicting. So how are we supposed to gauge these metrics in regards to our own lives?

PETA definitely knows how to get people fired up. And with its new advertising series, the vegan animal rights activist group has done it again.

It has now taken on an unexpected, incendiary method of getting people to stop drinking milk: claiming that drinking beer is healthier.

Set to go up around the bus stops of one of the nation’s hardest-partying universities, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the campaign takes the “Got Milk” slogan of our childhood and rewords it to a more frat-friendly “Got Beer.”

The ad reads: “It’s official: Beer is better for you than milk. Studies show that beer can strengthen bones and extend life, while milk is linked to obesity, diabetes and cancer. Drink responsibly: Don’t drink milk.” An asterisk citing the Ivy League School of Public Health at Harvard as well as three highly respected medical journals serves as “proof.”

Besides the obviously problematic issue of promoting alcohol consumption to a bunch of college kids who never needed any extra encouragement to overdo it, PETA’s advertisement is reflective of the type of polarized studies often cited when talking about alcohol consumption.

These days you can’t throw a rock without hitting a study claiming alcohol is healthy for something, from protecting your heart to fighting against diabetes. But when so many studies also prove alcohol consumption’s negative effects, the results seem conflicting. So how are we supposed to gauge the metrics in regards to our own lives?

PETA’s assertion of “beer over milk” is actually a great example. While milk is often credited with being the best source of calcium for bones, a study in the British Medical Journal shows that there is little evidence to support that. At the same time, alcohol is often demonized, but studies do show that there are benefits to be had from drinking it (e.g., red wine’s relationship to heart health).

At the end of the day, the problem lies with the black-and-white labels these products are given to begin with — good and bad. These studies don’t disprove that alcohol can be bad for you or that milk can be good for your health in some ways, but that both of these products can have negative and positive effects depending on the amount consumed in relation to your health goals. They just often lack the language to express that.

The old adage “everything in moderation” proves to be the only thing we can really grab on to in the sea of conflicting studies. For now, we’ll be sticking with both — in moderation, that is.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you drink milk? Do you drink alcohol? Which do you think is healthier? What do you think of PETA’s advertising tactics? Tell us in the comments!